Mechanical Engineering Major Secures an Away Experience at Ecosystem

July 30, 2020


As part of the inaugural class participating in The Arch at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, senior Peter Chinburg ’21, a mechanical engineering major with an entrepreneurship minor, secured a fall semester away co-op at Ecosystem in New York City.

Ecosystem is a Canadian-based company that focuses on large-scale energy efficiency retrofitting for old buildings and campuses. Since 1993, Ecosystem has grown to include three locations in Canada —Quebec City, Montreal, and Toronto — and two locations in the United States — Boston and New York City. They have improved over 1,600 infrastructures that has saved $527 million in energy costs.

During his experience at Ecosystem, Chinburg was exposed to a variety of work in the energy conservation realm. From initial sales meetings, to gathering data, performing engineering analysis, and writing project proposals, he was able to get a close view of how interesting and applicable engineering work can be, especially when it can directly quantify a positive environmental impact. 

“As a mechanical engineering student, this opportunity heavily drew on my knowledge acquired from my heat transfer classes and engineering design coursework. Each building/property offered new and interesting challenges and it was our job to determine how to utilize as much of the current infrastructure as possible, while adding and adjusting the system design to achieve the highest energy and financial efficiency possible,” said Chinburg.

When asked what advice he would give to students searching for an away experience, Chinburg suggests the following techniques, which he found to be beneficial during his semester-away search:

  • Search via online job platforms including Google Internship, LinkedIn, Indeed, Chegg Internship, and JobLink.
  • Pick up the phone and call companies directly, even if they don’t have any job listings posted.
  • Email employees directly.
  • Network with connections you have made along the way.
  • Utilize all the services that the Center for Career and Professional Development has to offer.
  • Keep your resume up-to-date.
  • Create general cover letters for each sector to easily adapt to each company that you are applying to.
  • Proofread every application before you send it out.

In his free time, Chinburg shared, “I have been able to be a part of the club racquetball team, sing in the a capella group “Partial Credit,” play intramural sports, participate in Linear Particle Accelerator research, work as an Engineering Processes teaching assistant, and fish and hike with my roommates and other friends in the surrounding Hudson Valley region.”

After graduation, Chinburg wants to pursue a position that focuses on renewable energy conservation engineering or medical device engineering. He’d like to stay close to the end user, where the impact of his team’s work can be directly seen or measured in a positive way.

Written By Monique Gleason
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